Green Shoots of Moderation
This is how Geoffrey Kabaservice, the author of Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and The Destruction of the Republican Party, describes what is happening in America. See his op-ed, “Moderate Republicans aren’t dead. They’re hiding in plain sight.” in the November 9 Washington Post [here].
I am so glad that there is FINALLY some press about moderate Republicans and their popularity. For most of us, such press generates hope, rather than more fear and polarization. America certainly doesn’t need any more fear or polarization.
A couple of weeks before this month’s elections, I was writing friends and folks engaging with the Lone Liberal Republican website and Facebook page that there is no better evidence of the discord the media sows than FiveThirtyEight’s recent poll of the most popular governors in America, their party affiliation and the political demographics of the state they govern [here]. Number one most popular governor in America was Republican Charlie Baker of Massachusetts. At the time Massachusetts was a +24 Blue State by FiveThirtyEight’s reckoning. The number two most popular governor in America was Larry Hogan of Maryland, also a Republican in a +24 Blue State. Both were reelected by large margins last week. There are also important signs of Republican Party moderation coming out of states like Oklahoma and Kansas. Last time I looked Oklahoma and Kansas were neither on the East Coast nor traditional bastions of liberalism…
Neither my politically-engaged university student friends nor my politically-engaged contemporaries had any awareness of these facts or, by and large, had even heard of Governors Charlie Baker or Larry Hogan. Yet every bit of Trump nonsense blazes onto their radar and then their social media feeds, just like ridiculous left-wing stuff lights up the media (mainstream and social) of people on the political right.
For years the media has stoked people’s fears and anger, rather than highlight consensus where it exists. Too mundane I guess…doesn’t build readership or sell ads. But it’s gasoline on a fire that is dangerously close to ripping America apart, and it should stop. In the words of the late Senator John McCain, “Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and television and the Internet. To hell with them. They don’t want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood.”
In addition to Geoffrey Kabaservice’s Washington Post op-ed mentioned above, there have been several other pieces regarding moderate Republicans published in the last month. These include a couple of Atlantic pieces by David Frum [here] and Parker Richards [here], and a piece by George Packer in the New Yorker [here]. It’s a start…”